It’s a day past the deadline, and no word from the freelance writer. The client reaches out to the freelance writer, asking how the project is coming long – and still no answer. Finally, the freelance writer responds, 3 days after the deadline with the work due.
This is an all too common scenario in the freelance writing world. Because so many people freelance on the side, keeping up with a day job along with freelancing, sometimes deadlines just slip past them. But, in order to build a fantastic reputation, this sort of behavior is unacceptable. What’s unacceptable isn’t even missing the deadline – what’s unacceptable is the lack of communication.
Communication is the key to success as a freelance writer, and here’s why:
It Builds Trust
In a world where most freelance writers have never met their clients before, building trust can be tricky. Thus, if communication is important in a normal face-to-face job, it’s much more important for a job managed online. Communication is the only way to build trust, especially online. So what does this mean? If your project is to be carried out over a long period of time, send updates occasionally to keep your client in the loop. As a general rule, too much communication is better than too little, so when in doubt – communicate! Ask questions, give updates and make suggestions. And always always always respond to clients promptly. About 24 hours is the acceptable window for email communication. After that point, you might make your client nervous and think that you’re going to flake out on them.
It Shows Responsibility
By maintaining excellent communication, you show responsibility. It’s much more responsible to inform a client you’re going to miss a deadline than to be silent. Most clients can be flexible and are willing to make adjustments to deadlines – you just have to ask! Not asking shows you don’t care. Communication in the form of questions and advice for your project also shows responsibility. By reaching out to the client, you show that you are taking the project seriously and are giving it your best efforts.
On the flip side, accepting communication is also important. A responsible writer can receive constructive criticism and communicate that back to the client. Of course part of that is also incorporating the feedback into your next project. But, the first step is to thank the client for the feedback, communicating that you’re open to growth and working with them to improve your work.
It Keeps Clients Happy
Clients need to know how your work is going, whether or not you’re going to make the deadline, if you have questions and if you’re available for more work. Your efficient and helpful communication helps them to be efficient in their work too. Imagine you hired a freelance writer. How would you feel if your writer didn’t follow instructions you sent because he didn’t understand them? Or if deadlines were consistently missed with no notice? A happy client knows exactly what to expect from his freelance writer because trust has been built and the freelancer shows responsibility. This is all accomplished through communication.